Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 2008 Mixes

We posted 25 sounds this past month. I sort of went a little crazy with mixes, producing three of them.

First is the compiled mix, which focuses on (what I felt were) the best sounds of the month:


Second, if for some god awful reason you're aching to hear every sound we put up this month AT ONCE, here it is! Brace yourself, it's cacophonous!:


Or, if you'd rather hear them all in a more mellow fashion, listen to the linear mix:


See you next month!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Street Light Buzz

The ultimate 60 Hertz electrical noise! One of those buzzing street lights. In the background are a bird and a police car siren.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Railroad Crossing

I was walking by the railroad tracks one day when a freight train came by. Here's the tail end of the recording: the passing of the train and the end of the bell dinging.

The dings are some note between A4 and A#4.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Clothes Dryer, Plus 60 Hertz Electrical Song

As promised, here is the fluffy, soothing sound of my clothes dryer recorded in hi-fidelity audio. It's a hum near an A#2.

That's more 60 Hertz electrical noise, of course. So, I have put together this little song with a bunch of samples of 60 Hertz electrical hums.

It uses hair clippers, microwave, refrigerator, box fan, washing machine, clothes dryer, and as-yet-unposted clips of a vacuum cleaner and a street light buzzing. If you listen close you can hear a bird and a police siren in the background.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cathedral Bells

Strolling north on 6th street in Springfield, Illinois the other day, I noticed it was near 2 o'clock and I was approaching the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which has bells in its clock tower that chime:
  • on the hour with a melody and then a number of dings announcing the hour
  • on the half hour with just the melody (no dings)
  • and on the quarter hour with a shorter melody
This recording, then, captures the full melody plus two dings. Hang in there during the 28 seconds between them. I always enjoy the sound of these bells when I catch them.

The four bars of the melody are G#3, C4, A#3, D#3 ... G#3, A#3, C4, G#3 ... C4, G#3, A#3, D#3 ... D#3, A#3, C4, G#3.

The dings are D#3.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Idling Bus

I was out walking on my merry way one day when I turned a corner and there pulled over idling at the side of the road was a Springfield Mass Transit District bus. Luckily I had my Microtrak with me. This is recorded about ten feet from the back side of the bus. I think it turned out pretty cool.

I hear spot on a B2.

Now, here it is slowed down 200%.

And sped up 200%.

Play all three at once... if you dare!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Get It On

Years ago when I was in college and needed one badly for a band (or so I thought) I bought a gong with with what I could scrape together and some student loan money.

Here I strike it once. Typical of gongs, it's hard to say what note it plays. I hear a bunch of tones... various C's and F's.

By the way, feel free to download this and use it as your doorbell.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lawnmower Flange, Plus Bonus Repeat Track

They were mowing the lawn of the funeral home across the street from where I work recently. The guy was on a riding mower, and for some reason as he turns from mowing parallel to me to coming toward me, there's a subtle flange effect. It's very cool. The note is close to an A2.

But it really comes to life on repeat. As a bonus (scoop) here is one minute of it! Crank it up!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

(Unfortunately) Not The Sonic Youth Album

Sunday is laundry day at my house. So you can vicariously partake in the profound experience, here is the sound of my washing machine.

It's one more electric motor humming near an A#2 probably caused by 60 Hertz electric cycles. Yep...

Tune in next week for the exciting sounds of my dryer!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Kooky Cow Toy

I found this strange Mardis Gras necklace at my friend's house where it resides as a toy for their 3 1/2 year old daughter. You push a button on the back and it makes a mooing sound three times. Cute. I also like the gaudy beads.

As it moos, the pitch rises somewhat slowly, plateaus near a D3, and then falls off rapidly.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Box Fan

Who doesn't enjoy the calming sound of a box fan? I put the microphone right up to the motor to capture its hum as well as the background drone of the blades.

I hear simultaneous notes A#2 and C3. Probably the A# is the motor. Most motor hums in my house seem to be near A#, as evidenced here, here, and here. According to yet another article at Wikipedia that doesn't cite and references or sources,
Electric hum, mains hum, or power line hum is an audible oscillation at the frequency of the mains alternating current, which is usually 50 or 60 hertz depending on the local electric utility configuration.... Assuming a tempered scale with A=440Hz, a 60Hz tone is almost exactly halfway between A# and B two octaves below Middle C....
So perhaps I'm hearing a 60 hertz tone in the electric hum of these motors.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hearing Chords In Drum Cymbals

For cymbals, my current drum kit came came with a crash and a hi-hat.

Here is the crash. Typical of cymbals, there are many overtones in it; the loudest ones here are G#4 and a C5.

In the case of the top hi-hat, this recording will demonstrate how complex the tonality of a cymbal can be. I strike it twice in two different places, the first time between the bow and the rim and the second time between the bow and the bell. In the first strike, there are distinct tones of B3, D#4, and E4, forming something like a B4 chord. In the second strike, the notes are tougher to discern, but they sound to me like A3, B3, and D#4, forming a nice B7 chord.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Warning! Bridge Raising!

Last week I was walking down Harrison Street, headed towards Printer's Row for a leisurely lunch. Wouldn't you know the bells of the Harrison Street Bridge were a-banging, as the bridge was about to go up.

It's two notes played together at an octave interval -- a B♭3 and a B♭4.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Yomega Yo-Yo

This Yomega brand yo-yo has ball bearings inside it that spin and make a sound when it's in "sleep" mode after a throw. From the Wikipedia entry on "yo-yo":
[I]n 1980, Michael Caffrey patented what would later become the Yomega Brain, a yo-yo with a centrifugal clutch transaxle. Designed with a free-spinning ball bearing linkage, "The Brain" could spin much longer than previous fixed-axle designs. In addition, the axle was "clutched" with spring-loaded weights which would pull away from the axle at higher speeds and grab again at lower speeds. The result is an automatic return of the yo-yo when speed drops below a given threshold.
The noise is very cool, and if there's a note it's close to a B2:

Friday, April 11, 2008

Different Gas Pump, Same Notes

Splotchy shared the notes of his gas pump experience.

As for my own recent visit to the fuel trough, the notes turn out to be the same, even though the gas station brand was different!

As before, the machine plays a D5 to ask me if I want a receipt, and then it plays a C6 when I push "NO".

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Friendly Gmail Chat Bloop

I use Gmail as my primary email account these days. Gmail has a handy-dandy Chat widget that you can use to connect with other Gmail users.

Every once in a while I'll initiate a chat with another user, or a user will initiate a chat with me.

When I don't have Chat as my active window I'll hear a very pleasant bloop that lets me know when someone has just chatted something to me.

It's two notes played together at an octave interval -- a C4 and a C5.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Toy Elephant Meets The Beat

Just the toy elephant from the last post mixed with a dance beat and some drums.

Toy Elephant

While over at my brother and sister-in-law's recently, my sister-in-law suggested I record the cool sound of this toy elephant, part of my four-month-old niece's playpen. Luckily I had my recorder with me.

When you pull down on the elephant and let go, it rewards you with the noise as it raises back up.

I'd wager it's close to an F#2 (very bassy), though the pitch drops as the elephant gets halfway up or so--a nice effect.

I could listen to this one over and over.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Goddamn Alarm Clock

Here it is, my morning nemesis. If I hear any sound remotely like this when I am out and about, I involuntarily flinch.

Never has an A5 sounded so goddamned obnoxious.

Monday, April 7, 2008

TV Bleep Censor

According to an article at Wikipedia that doesn't cite and references or sources, the TV bleep censor--the tone played over an increasingly small list of curse words when they're uttered on TV--is generally a 1000 Hz tone. That would put it just flat of a B4.

Let's take an episode of South Park, the very first episode actually ("Cartman Gets an Anal Probe"), then select a few lines with lots of bleeped expletives (the scene where Kyle cusses out the aliens) and see if the bleep tone is near a B.

Nope, in this case it's just flat of a C5.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Backyard Gate Squeak

So the gate on the side of my house that leads to the backyard has a pleasant high-pitched squeak.

It's a B♭6!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Pizza Store Doorbell

One nice thing about digital voice recorders like mine is that they look like cellphones.

So no one thinks weird of me when I'm on my way out the door at the local Papa Murphy's and I whip out such a device and push a button on it.

The talking in the background is over the radio in the store.

That doorbell note is an appetizing E5.

Why Yes, My Refrigerator Is Running

My refrigerator's air compressor makes a humming noise like most do, I imagine.

Here is mine AMPLIFIED.

It's very close to an A#2 similar to the hair clippers and the microwave.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Grocery Store Scanner Of A Different Note

Tim has shared his grocery store experience. Now I must share mine.

I was waiting to pay for groceries at my local supermarket and decided to record the sounds being made by the price scanning device used by the cashier (that's not me in the picture, by the way. Tucking your shirt in to go shopping? Are you freaking kidding me?).

Well, the lane I was in was definitely beeping an A5, though you can hear a scanner in a nearby lane happily chirping a C6.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Civil Defense Siren

Yesterday I scored a recording of the Springfield, Illinois, civil defense siren system during one of its scheduled 1st-Tuesday-of-the-month tests.

If you listen closely in the first few seconds you can hear two sirens of different pitches. This happens as they are warming up.

That alarming note is C5!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Gas Pump

I had to visit the neighborhood gas station for a minor fill-up (y'know, the $30.00 kind).

For the past couple of years I have paid at the pump with a credit card rather than actually interact with a human being.

I noticed that the gas pump makes two different kinds of beeps. There is a beep when the gas pump is trying to tell you something, and another kind of beep when it is acknowledging some action taken by the human interacting with it.

For this recording, the first beep you hear is a D5. The gas pump is asking me if I would like a receipt.

My "NO" response is replayed to me in the form of a C6.

Thank you, friendly gas pump!


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